News Briefs

Opponents of capital punishment praised the decision by Oregon’s Gov. John Kitzhaber, right, on Nov. 22 to maintain a moratorium on the death penalty for the rest of his term. • The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved $1.35 million in grants to aid pastoral work in 14 countries across Africa. • Indonesian police were able to head off an attempt by Islamic extremists in Bekasi, a suburb of Jakarta, to raze six Christian churches in the area. • Hundreds marched in Arakan Valley in Mindanao, Philippines, to demand an end to human rights abuses and call for justice for the Rev. Fausto Tentorio, whose murder in October may have been related to a struggle against powerful mining interests. • The New Jersey Catholic Conference plans four anti-poverty task forces that will “identify pragmatic recommendations to help strengthen families, improve schools, reduce unemployment, assure living wages and increase affordable housing.” • Church leaders in Kerala State, India, have expressed shock and outrage over the killing of Sister Valsa John of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, a campaigner for tribal rights in eastern India who was hacked to death in her home.

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